Education, Free Society

Demons under the bed

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.


Back in the 1950s, I remember the Civil Defense drills as we feared the Red Menace.  We also had a teacher who disappeared from the school after it was relayed to a parent that she was teaching socialism–she would have fit right in in NYC.  It became apparent that our air raid drills–get under the desk–were pretty ineffective.  I saw it boiled down to a simple formula we have all seen:  “In case of air raid, kneel under your desk, put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye.”

We have real threats to our existence.  I watched in 1993 as the Kaw River played with the top of the dam in Lawrence as if it were Tinkertoys(tm).  China is not going to invade, but they are a superpower to be dealt with and they finance hot spots when it is in their interest to do so.  And back in 2011, Osama bin Laden’s folks shot their wad on the World Trade Center with assistance and planning from German professionals.  So we created the Quaeda threat to fill the place of the Soviet menace.  And we clamped down on the whole society–thus responding as a terrorist hopes the target nation responds.

In the search for threats (and therefore continued funding) the Department of Homeland Security has defined (with the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center) domestic terrorism–we used to call it criminal syndicalism.  It has been around since the beginning of the Republic.  And it has been dealt with by law enforcement and state militias (see my piece on the well regulated militia…-of-definition).     

ABC has purchased a demonizing drama called Founding Fathers for release sometime this fall. As a drama it is one of those infiltrator-provocateur flicks in which the good guys (FBI) stop a plot by evil militiamen. It involves a Donnie Brasco character.

The film is roughly based on the Hutaree Militia case in Michigan and Indiana which involved an FBI “informant” and a group of millinialists who were armed. Informants for Federal agencies are low level criminals who are offered leniency for cooperation—which means bigger fish. If there are now bigger fish they go after a show. One problem with informants is that there is no such thing as a clean snitch and the informant’s testimony fell apart.

Filmmakers are not bound by rules of evidence, nor, for that matter, truth. Michael Moore has found the secret that if you are funny enough and outrageous in your approach it does not matter if you use facts. And the purpose of the story is to be compelling enough to demonize a certain group. At present the powers that be see a threat from the preparedness movement as an excuse for stricter controls on the population.

Neither the Aurora shooter nor the Phoenix shooter have been able to fit the propaganda needs of the Administration and the Hutaree were acquitted and the judge ordered their arms to be returned. This judge was less compliant with the power structure than the judge in the Davidian cases. That Judge initially dismissed the charges of use of weapons in commission of a federal crime, because the jury acquitted them of the two federal charges, which convictions were necessary element to the crime. The Clinton Justice Department convinced him otherwise.

So the movie has to be good. A demon is necessary to justify expenditures and expansions. The Department of Homeland Security is a program that was recommended after the 1993 after the truck bombing of the World Trade Center but did not get Congressional approval. It contains two constitutional agencies, Customs and the Border Patrol, and one constitutional uniformed service, the Coast Guard. These three agencies belong properly under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Treasury. The immigration services belong to State although they were for a time in Justice. Otherwise we had the Federal Emergency Management Agency, formerly in Agriculture, and the Transportation Security Administration, formerly handled by airports and airlines with private security.

From news reports on procurement DHS is planning a significant increase in law enforcement personnel. A major move to secure all movie theaters would mean more personnel. Customs and Border Patrol are out because of their missions. FEMA also is not appropriate. This leaves TSA. TSA, by the nature of its duties is not a law enforcement agency—many of its employees do not meet the standards required for employment as law enforcement officers. So a big threat will be required for deployment beyond the current mission. And the Administration is not above creating threats—they are currently attempting to destabilize governments in Syria and Iran having succeeded in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.

A bit of history to executive histrionics: In the run up to World War I the Wilson Administration was provided an intercepted, and probably forged, document from from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman to the German Minister to Mexico, von Eckhardt. Said document was allegedly a proposal urging Mexico to make war on the United States. This was published by the Administration on March 1, 1917 to create popular support for US involvement in a European War. Further the sinking of and armed merchant vessel, the Lusitania, was broadly publicized as the sinking of a passenger ship. The German Navy had posted in the New York Times that the Lusitania was carrying munitions and was a “lawful target.”

Going back earlier, the explosion of a boiler on the battleship Maine was used to obtain a declaration of War on Spain in 1898. Acting Secretary of the Navy Roosevelt had already, without President McKinley’s knowledge or permission, dispatched Dewey to Manila. In other words Hearst, Pulitzer and Theodore Roosevelt plunged the United States into an unnecessary war. It was an extremely popular war, but unnecessary and quite possibly dangerous to the course of history.

Unless the film works, the only recourse of the Obama Administration is the only thing left is a 2011 report entitled Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States 1970 to 2008. This was done by a University of Maryland institute and published by the Department of Homeland Security (Science and Technology/Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division). The conclusion seems to be (this was more soporific than Marx’s Capital) that anyone with an agenda they feel passionately about is a potential terrorist. There is a bow to the Intelligence Report of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an amalgam of reports on groups, some of which may be accurate. In other words, the planners are left to pick their targets.

And in that last statement may be the answer. Policy planners are trained to perceive all challenges to power as threats. And the decision makers regard the mandarins or at least those mandarins in power as being right. If this last statement sound a bit Chinese it is because the Mandarinism of Chinese rulers has transferred to the West. It is the same principle.

So what George Mason considered the proper defense of a free state (and has so worked in Switzerland for more than six centuries) is now a threat to a “democratic” society.



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